Milwaukee closes 4-2 with Atlanta and will play for the title for the first time since 1974 on Tuesday. Gallinari and teammates beaten 118-107 in Game-6, with Young on the field at half service
Milwaukee’s dream continues. Lead to the Finals, the first since 1974 for the Wisconsin franchise. It leads to the challenge against Phoenix for the title: it starts at 3 am on the Italian night between Tuesday and Wednesday in Arizona. Instead, the Atlanta dream ends. In race-6 of the finals in the East, beaten 118-107 by the Bucks, with the star Trae Young clearly in the middle of a service, courageous but in the long run harmful. Danilo Gallinari’s dream of being the second Italian ever in the Finals also ends: he has confirmed himself as an important cog in this team with a lot of future ahead, leader in the dressing room and when needed on the pitch. It wasn’t enough.
The champions of the east
Milwaukee took the Eastern Conference trophy by pulling out the strength of the group in the most difficult moment, the one in which Giannis Antetokounmpo stopped (the hypertension in his left knee that kept him out in the last two games puts him in doubt for the start of the Finals, even if the rumors from Wisconsin wanted him ready to return in case of game-7 against the Hawks). Batman did it, once again, Khris Middleton: in game-6 he played an amazing third quarter, splitting the game with 23 points (in the third period alone, the total is 32) and making Milwaukee’s advantage rise to 19. points, making it unbridgeable. He and Jrue Holiday (27 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists) were the lifeline of coach Bud’s team, the ones who energized a deep group, which proved they can not only help Giannis but make a difference. even when it counts. If in race-5 the hero was Brook Lopez, in race-6 the concreteness of Pat Connaughton (13 points and 8 rebounds from the bench) and the strength of the defense emerged, which got the Hawks at 41.3% from the field. The Bucks have always known that the goodness of their 2020-21 would be measured by the postseason: they arrived at the Finals, to fight for the title. “But we still have a lot of work to do,” said coach Budenholzer, holding the Eastern Champion trophy in his hands.
Atlanta comes out with a very high head from this final in the East, convinced that this season has been the first step of something big, given the many young and talented people (Cam Reddish amazing with 21 points in race-6, so much so that coach McMillan has compared to an embryonic version of Paul George) present in a group that went well beyond expectations. They didn’t want regrets for this game-6, the Hawks, and Young didn’t want them either: he chose to play despite being far from 100%, despite the right foot that had made him miss the previous two games gave him problems. He finished with 14 points and 9 assists, clearly arriving in oxygen debt and confused at the end. His race-4 injury is Atlanta’s only regret. Because this was an exceptional postseason, the one in which Young definitively entered the club of stars, the one in which the Hawks showed that their construction which until February seemed to be leaking everywhere can prove to be a winner. It was a rematch for the team, which rekindled the enthusiasm of the entire city. It was also for Gallinari: in November, when he signed with Atlanta, he was criticized for his choice. Now he closes the longest playoff adventure of his career, in which he has shown he can make a difference even as a leader. He finished game-6 with 13 points and 8 rebounds, the commitment on both sides of the field, the desire not to end this story. Like all Hawks, he has given himself a strong motivation to restart.
Milwaukee starts better and manages to touch the double-digit advantage in the first half, but Atlanta remains glued to the match and comes down by 4 both at the end of the first quarter (28-24) and when returning to the locker room (47-43 ). Capela with the first basket of the second half even shortens to -2. Then Middleton is unleashed, who had only slipped 5 points in the first half: he turns into a force of nature, a sort of King Midas capable of transforming everything he touches into a basket, a cyclone that slips 16 consecutive points, a ruthless killer who rages on Atlanta. When Middleton finished, the Bucks are ahead 91-72 with a quarter separating them from the return to the Finals. The Hawks try anyway, thanks above all to Reddish they reduce to 107-101 with 3’41 ”to play. But first Middleton and Tucker then put the decisive baskets: those who close the final in the East, who send Milwaukee to play for the title, Atlanta on vacation with a great desire to try again.
Atlanta:GALLINARI 13 (2/8 of two, 3/5 of three), 8 rebounds in 23’12 “. Reddish 21 (1/5, 6/7, 1/2 free throws), Bogdanovic 20, Young 14, Capela 14. Rebounds: Collins 11. Assists: Young 9.
Milwaukee: Middleton 32 (6/10, 4/12, 8/8 tl), Holiday 27, Lopez 13, Connaughton 13. Rimbalzi: Holiday 9, Portis 9. Assist: Holiday 9.
July 4th 2021 (change July 4th 2021 | 08:27)
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